Mother’s Day is this coming weekend. It’s a time to celebrate the mother figures in our lives and our own role as mamas. Whether you have children of your own or not, chances are you play a motherly role in someone’s life.
Mamas are marvelous. They love, work, believe, and pray for those under their wings. I’m blessed to know five different mamas who have journeyed demanding and uncertain paths. Addiction, cancer, adoption, homeschooling, and dream-chasing are the stories I plan to share over the next five weeks.
Our first Marvelous Mama is Dotti, a friend of mine for nearly seventeen years. Dotti is a Christian woman who will be 64 years young but still feels like a new Christian since she didn’t really know Jesus until she was 41.
She was raised by a working mom, so she decided to stay home to raise her only son. Although it was difficult financially, she did everything she could to be there for him. In her son’s teen years, Dotti and her husband began a journey as they’ve struggled to help their son work through addiction.
Her story is one all too common–a loved one addicted to drugs can put a serious strain on a family. Dotti is an example of how faith in God can carry us through the most difficult of circumstances. Here’s my interview with her.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: As a parent, how has the addiction of your loved one impacted your family?
DOTTI: We were very frantic when at the age of 17 our son was arrested for possession of drugs. I second guessed every decision I ever made – determined to find a reason for the choices he had made. My husband feared the worst and so he became somewhat abusive, thinking he could scream and hit him enough to knock this out of him. I, on the other hand, thought that if we sought Christian council, got involved in meetings, etc, he would be “fixed”.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: What has been the hardest part of this journey for you as a mother?
DOTTI: I remember the day I realized that nothing I did could cause or cure his addiction. That’s the day I first turned it over to the Lord. That was the first, but there were many times I turned it over and took it back. Leaving it in God’s hands and not feeling guilty or responsible was by far the hardest thing to do as a mom.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: How did you go from experiencing these difficulties to turning them into a way to minister to others?
DOTTI: I remember feeling so alone–no one to talk to because people judge not only the addicted but the parents. What kind of parents would allow their child to turn out this way? God said to me, ”start a group, there are others that feel just the way you do”. That was 5 years ago and I am so thankful that I was obedient.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: How has the ministry impacted others and grown since you began it?
DOTTI: We have had so many people come through our group. We have had happy endings and some sad ones too. But mostly, we are a core of loved ones who have accepted God’s help and want to help others to live their lives in spite of having addiction in their family.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: How has starting the ministry opened your eyes to the impact of addiction in our local area?
DOTTI: It is just crazy how many young people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Some start at age 13 or younger and some still are still living an addiction lifestyle at the age of 35 and older. I have been blessed to meet people like Lt. Lou Fisher from Riverside Police who started NJTIP – an amazing program designed to give the addicted person a chance at life without just getting thrown into prison. Other advocates fighting the war against addiction are Michael and Darla DeLeon and many more. Through these people, I have gotten help, education, and friendship. They are such blessings in my life.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: In what ways has this situation impacted your relationship with the Lord?
DOTTI: I have finally given my son to the Lord. I know that God loves him more than I could. I trust that God has kept him alive for a reason and that my son will one day glorify the Lord for bringing him through this. I now thank the Lord for what he is doing in my son’s life even if I can’t see it…True Faith!! I KNOW God is able.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: What advice do you have for families who are struggling to help a loved one who is addicted?
DOTTI: First and foremost, trust the Lord. Don’t waste time like I did, trying to fix something that you didn’t break. Only the person who is addicted can take the steps to get better. And only God can convict, guide, and transform that person. Step aside and let Him work.
Secondly, find someone to talk to, someone who will understand and help you have a life outside of just living to “fix” your loved one. My son is 27 now, and I did not fully trust the Lord and give it completely over to him until September of 2018. They say experience is the best teacher, so learn from my experience.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: What’s your favorite passage of scripture and why?
DOTTI: Romans 8:28. No matter what I am going through, no matter how bad it looks, I know He WILL work all things together for me.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: What is your favorite way to spend time with God?
DOTTI: I have two favorite times. At night before bed, I lay peacefully and lift up those I am praying for, and then I follow that with some bible reading. My second favorite way is to sit alone outside on a nice day and have the sun on my face as I have my mind on all the things the Lord has done and is doing. I am in awe of his mercy and grace.
EARL GREY AND YELLOW: Rainy morning with nobody else home–coffee or tea?
DOTTI: Coffee with sugar-free Italian Sweet Cream. Although, on a cold winter’s day, there is nothing like a cup of tea with honey.
Thanks to Dotti for sharing a bit about her journey as the family member of an addict. We appreciate you being open about your experiences and pray this story encourages and blesses others who are on the same journey.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8: 28
Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.